Home Community Rebuilding Built Environment Ecological Concern
Relief Efforts

Rebuilding in Indonesia and all the tsunami-impacted areas is a monumental task; the amounts and variety of aid needed is overwhelming. However, a large response has come to the devastated province of Banda Aceh, and efforts are beginning on all scales. As noted in the AIA's article, "The Architect's Role in Disaster Response," there are three stages of disaster assistance: Emergency, Relief, and Recovery. The effort now is working on bridging the gap from Emergency to Relief, and although the need is huge, steps are being made toward rebuilding communities, and efforts are looking at relief that can occur at all stages. In an effort to research the relief resources available to devastated Indonesian communities, relief was divided into three categories


Community Rebuilding

related precedents

Built Environment

related precedents

Ecological Concern

related precedents


The Architect's Role in Disaster Response
Excerpted and adapted from "The AIA Guidelines for Disaster Response and Recovery Programs," copyright 1999, The American Institute of Architects

When a natural disaster strikes, architects can play an important role in emergency relief as well as long-term recovery, offering invaluable guidance as a community rebuilds itself.

As soon as possible after each disaster strikes, relief efforts begin. First, the injured are cared for. If necessary, emergency repairs are made, or severely damaged buildings are classified "off limits." The focus then shifts to making homes livable and work places functional, and putting the community in working order. Licensed building experts such as architects, engineers, builders, and others are often called to help evaluate post-disaster conditions and, later, restore the community.

As a community begins to rebuild, it needs some kind of quality control. On one hand, opportunities may arise to improve, rather than simply replace, the physical structure of a community. On the other hand, "rebuilding fever" can result in a built environment less attractive than it was before. A long-term redevelopment plan is crucial during this rebuilding time. Architects can help the community not only to rebuild, but to use the disaster to become an even better place to live.

The Three Stages of Disaster Assistance

This is the first response. It relies on quick, decisive action and involves the provision of emergency shelter, medical services, food, and other such efforts. This stage can last two to three weeks.

Short-term housing is provided, as well as health services and employment counseling. At this time, the formal assessment of damage begins, with examinations of the condition of buildings, including analysis of historic properties and other non-building structures. This stage may last up to six months.

This stage is characterized by rebuilding. Long-term comprehensive planning to enhance the physical fabric of the community should be emphasized. Regulatory changes may be necessary to mitigate the effect of future disasters. This period may last three years or more.


Important References and Resouces Regarding the Relief Effort

Network for Good list of Agencies working to aid tsunami victims